Space Needle World's Fair Posters
HOST: The Seattle organizers of the 1962 Century 21 Fair needed something that would command the attention of the world and put the city on the map. The Space Needle stands 605 feet tall. Its three-legged base and flying saucer-like top perfectly conveyed the futuristic theme of the event and helped make it a success. Roadshow met expert Nicholas Lowry at the tower to discuss some popular World's Fair souvenirs-- posters. Nico, you brought two great examples of World's Fair posters. Let's talk about this first one.
Well, Mark, the first one is for the Seattle 1962 World's Fair, and I think it's very exciting that the poster depicts the Space Needle, and here we are on the skyline 100 feet off the ground in the Space Needle itself. When the Space Needle was built for the World's Fair, Mark, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi, and the organizers of the fair were trying to make a structure so impressive that it would leave its impression on the city for decades to come, and that's exactly what's happened. HOST: And this is a great depiction with the Space Needle prominent and the focal point of the entire poster.
Mark, there were four official posters for the Seattle World's Fair. This one is not one of the official posters, but it has become one of the most recognizable images. It was done by Earle Duff, who was an artist/architect for the company that built the Space Needle. And we're actually living in this poster. We're on the skyline, 100 feet off the ground. The monorail is running right outside the room where we are, and in the background of our shot and in the poster, we see the arches of the Science Center. And this poster exists in several different formats. Everywhere where you see text in the yellow and in the area that's red, different companies could have used the image to overprint their own information. HOST: And you said there were four different posters, this not being an official one, so I would imagine this is relatively rare.
This is certainly rarer than some of the other ones. The four official posters tend to run in value between about $300 and $600 apiece, and I would say a fair auction estimate for the poster we have here would be between $600 and $900. HOST: I see. You have another poster here from a different World's Fair, a little earlier in time and from a different coast altogether.
One of the most famous World's Fairs in America was 1939 in New York, and just as Seattle constructed the Space Needle, in New York, the structural emblems of the fair were the Trylon and the Perisphere, which are depicted on that poster. This happens to be a particularly rare poster. It was designed two years before the fair opened, and it was designed in conjunction with the public release of the design plans of the Trylon and Perisphere. HOST: What's the value of a poster like that today?
This poster is especially rare. It actually exists in two different formats, this one being the smaller format of the poster. The larger format at auction tends to sell for between $4,000 and $6,000. This small format, to the best of my knowledge, has never come up for auction before, but I think an auction estimate on the piece would be between $2,500 and $3,000. HOST: Nico, these posters are beautiful representations of two great events. Thanks for sharing.
It's a pleasure.
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